Updated Best Management Practices (BMP 4) for Avoidance of Somalia Based Pirates

8 September 2011

As Members may be aware the Best Management Practices document (to reduce the risk of Somalia based pirates) has been updated. The current version, BMP4, can be accessed by clicking here.

BMP4 continues to receive wide support from the shipping industry and Members are recommended to maintain familiarity with and effectively implement its provisions (even when armed guards are retained).

The main changes are:

  • The area to which BMP4 applies is extended to the Strait of Hormuz (see Section 2).
  • BMP4 includes a new introduction section to reinforce the importance of registering, reporting and implementing protective measures.
  • Planning for voyages through high risk areas is separated into separate sections for the operating company and for the Master and these set out recommended steps in more detail and in an easier to follow format (see Sections 6 & 7). [This is to address the experience of the military and who report that a significant (but falling) number of vessels are not BMP compliant].
  • Increased information about to whom unsuccessful piracy attacks are to be reported and what information they require (see Section 12).
  • Greater guidance for the crew when they are under attack (see Section 9).
  • Reference to the use of armed guards and the relevant IMO Guidance documents (see Section 8.15).
  • Better explanation of Safe Muster Points and Citadels (see Section 8).
  • An additional form for reporting transit of high risk areas to the MSCHOA (see Section 7.4 and Annex E).

More specific recommendations include:

  • Reducing non-essential maintenance during transit of high risk areas (see Section 7.6).
  • Maintaining full sea speed throughout the high risk area (see Section 3.4)
  • Reduced duration of (enhanced) watch periods to maintain alertness of the lookouts (see Section 8.2).
  • Measures to increase protection for those on the bridge from a Rocket Propelled Grenade (see Section 8.3 ).
  • Encouragement for crew not to be intimidated by the use of RPGs (see Section 4.3).